Will my salary be enough ? Just checking the latest.

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    31

    Question Will my salary be enough ? Just checking the latest.

    Hi All

    I have been offered the chance to move to HK early in the new year. The package seems to be quite good, but you never know until you get there.

    We have been on a recce visit and think we would probably like to live in Causeway Bay as my wife really liked the mix of shops, the park and the proximity to the water.

    We don't have any kids and as such there are just the two of us. Although my wife wont have a job initially she is going to do her TEFL and do some teaching work, so until then we need to get by on just my wage.

    Work will pay for my rent (40k/month budget) and they will pay me 39k/month after tax. I get the impression that food will be about 3-4k a month and that electricity water, gas will be about 2.5k a month.

    Am I right and does this sound like enough to live on. We quite like going out for drinks a couple of times a month as well as the odd meal out and going to the gym.

    Ive checked some of the older posts and just wanted to get an up to date view.

    Thanks in advance

    Russ


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    250

    If work is covering your housing and you are being paid 39k after tax (did they actually say it would be 39k or did you do your own back of the envelope calculation? I ask since housing is taxable here but at a much lower rate, and I am presuming you are not subject to worldwide taxation from your home country), then you will be fine.

    You should also have no problem with your current budget to find a nice place (frankly, by the time you get here, HK$40k will get you a very nice place since rents are falling back to more reasonable levels and HK$40k is a good budget for CWB). Having lived in CWB for two years, I would not recommend it anymore unless you are used to crowds, noise and pollution. The proximity to the water also means proximity to a 9-lane highway along Gloucester Road. Also, the building stock in CWB is on the older side. However, CWB is super convenient. If your wife liked the park, then she might also like Happy Valley, where I lived after CWB, since the racetrack inner area is open to the public and it is much more serene open space (not a lot of shade though). No seaviews though but you are still quite close to CWB.

    Monthly expenses for utilities shouldn't run more than HK$1500 on average for electricity (unless you are running your air cons on 24/7 12 months a year or leave your hot water heater on all day), HK$300 or less for gas, another HK$100 for your fixed line, HK$400 for a couple of mobile phones (unless you also use it for data), and another HK$250-HK$500 or so for your cable TV and broadband. Public transport will cost less than HK$800 per month for the two of you, if you are based in CWB and your full time job isn't a courier.

    If you don't hire a helper (approx HK$5000 per month all in) and your wife doesn't cook, then I would say HK$4k for food is on the low side... Either way, you still have more than HK$30k left for drinking, travel, going out and saving for a downpayment on a house one day.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    31

    Wow thanks for such a comprehensive response, and for answering so quickly. My company have given me my total yearly salary, and as I am on a two year secondment they take care of my tax as they have a policy of equalising this to ensure all our employees pay no more than they would at home.

    With regards food, this is just for eating in as we both like to cook, but I understand this will go up as we will probably eat out more. We probably wont do the helper thing yet as we have no kids and its culturally very different compared to the UK.

    Thanks again for your post, it has helped settle the nerves somewhat. I think we will definately enquire about happy valley.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    23,221

    Be very sure you have understood how they will do the tax equalisation thing.

    If the UK is your home country then that generally means they will continue to deduct "hypothetical tax" (hypotax) from your salary as if you were in the UK and then deal with what actually has to be paid to the tax authorities on your behalf. If your net salary (i.e. the money into your bank account) after the deduction of that hypotax is $39K (and the headline contracted gros figure is about $65K I guess) then you should be comfortable. If that's the figure before deduction of hypotax then somewhat less so (because your net figure would be about 25K).


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    31

    Yes your right I am coming from the UK and they are doing a hypotetical text payment, however they are paying me a split salary (i.e some in the UK and the majority from HK). They are deducting about 10 grand from my UK element (in GBP) to cover the hypothetical task I would have paid in the UK. After this they pay me an amount in the UK (to cover my home bills) and then another salary into my HK account in dollars. They way they have explained this to me is that they will sort out the tax owed to Hong Kong, and use the difference (as UK tax is at 40% for me) to offset employees placed in countries with much higher tax (e.g. sweden etc). I have to physically pay the tax and they then reimburse me. You are right though, I should double check my understanding of this with them (a job for Monday I think).

    Thanks again !


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    31

    So I checked with work and we will definately be getting 39k a month as well as my rent paid (to the value of 40k).

    Do you reckon this is an ok salary then ?

    Also would be greatful if people can suggest where they would live if they were a young professional couple with no kids. We are thinking CWB or on the outskirts of Wan Chai at the moment.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    HK
    Posts
    27

    hhmm, I'd say salary is great for one person but maybe just enough for a couple. (Unless your wife hates shopping, otherwise there are just way too much temptation in HK to spend money...) However, since you get the housing, that covers the major part of the HK expense. One thing tho, have you considered how big of a unit you looking at? For a couple, I think 800-900 sqft would be more than enough, especially when ppl aren't always at home in HK.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    31

    yes we have looked at various different size places, but seeing as the rental allowance is separate to my take home pay, and I dont get to keep the difference, I intend to spend the whole 40k. I have seen some decent size places for this (between 1000 and 1200 ft). I can imagine what you mean about temptation, hopefully my wife will get a job when we get out there. Even teaching posts look to pull in 10-20k a month so hopefully we should be ok.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    66

    Wow, you're lucky. Soon I will have to scrape by on 14K from my husband's company (who will also pay about 10-12K apartment) and that's for three of us, since I'm expecting next month.
    You've got loads to play with, but it totally depends on what kind of lifestyle you'll want to live and what area you want to live in. There are some areas where there's aren't so many local shops and neighbourhoods - that's where you'll spend your money. For us, we're looking to live in an area that has a mix of local and 'western', like Tsuen Wan.
    I seriously would not worry at all about netting 39K not incl apartment. I'm envious....


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    66

    By the way, the apartments are sooooo frickin small in HK. The previous poster mentioned 800-900sqft being adequate. I think that's the bare minimum (in my standards) The apartments in HK are advertised by GROSS sq feet (incl elevators and common areas) so in actuality, are about 20% smaller than advertised. Also with the newer and nicer buildings, anything bigger than 700-800sqft seems to be a 3 bedroom. And the secondary bedrooms you'll struggle to put a bed in they're so small. Like boxrooms in the UK.
    But with 40K I'm sure you'll be able to get a very decent flat, good-sized and beautiful. Also, most of the apartments in HK are unfurnished. Will your company be paying for your furniture too, or will you have to buy your own?


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